We tend to complicate faith, but faith is fairly simple.
If someone asked me what it means to have saving faith in Jesus, I would say saving faith involves truly believing in Jesus (more than just intellectual assent) and is verified by a life lived for him.
That sounds good, but if we’re not careful, we can complicate and clutter faith by adding too many qualifiers.
In the quote below, Tim Keller points out just how subtle these additions to faith can be in evangelical churches. These additions feel right, and yet we may inadvertently and disastrously shift our focus from the object of our faith to the quality of our faith, and in the process, we rob the gospel of its good newsiness.
“In some churches, it is implicitly or explicitly taught that you are saved through your “surrender” to Christ, plus right beliefs and behavior. This is a fairly typical mistake in evangelical churches. People are challenged to “give your life to Jesus” and/or to “ask Him into your life.” This sounds very biblical, but it still can reject the grace-first principle fairly easily. People think that we are saved by strong belief and trust in and love for God, along with a life committed to Him. Therefore, they feel they must begin by generating a high degree of spiritual sorrow, hunger, and love in order to get Christ’s presence. Then they must somehow maintain this if they are going to “stay saved.” So functionally – that is, in actual reality – a church is teaching the idea that we are saved because of the level of our faith. But the gospel says that we are saved through our faith. The first approach really makes our performance the savior, and the second makes Christ’s performance the Savior. It is not the level but the object of our faith that saves us.”Tim Keller, Galatians for You
So how does this quote strike you? Do Keller’s tweaks surprise you? Do you agree? Is he overstating his case? Is saving faith really as simple as just plain, small faith?